How Jan Vishwas Bill 2022 Promotes Ease Of Doing Business

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Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal introduced the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The government said that the Bill promotes ease of doing business by decriminalising minor offences in 42 Acts administered by 19 ministries. The Bill was introduced amid Opposition protests, who were demanding a discussion on the border issue with China, and was later referred to a joint committee of Parliament for further scrutiny. Let us discuss what’s the Bill is all about.

What’s in Jan Vishwas Bill 2022?

The Bill is put forward by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) after receiving recommendations from industry bodies and key stakeholders. The 108-page Bill as introduced in the Lok Sabha proposes to amend 183 provisions across 42 Acts administered by 19 ministries. It proposes to decriminalise a large number of minor offences by replacing them with monetary penalties. 

It proposes amendments to the Acts, including The Boilers Act; The Aadhar Act, 2016; the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, 2006; Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940; Public Debt Act, 1944; Pharmacy Act, 1948; Cinematograph Act, 1952; Copyright Act, 1957; Patents Act, 1970; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; and Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; Trade Marks Act, 1999; Railways Act, 1989; Information Technology Act, 2000; Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002; Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006; Legal Metrology Act, 2009; and Factoring Regulation Act, 2011, among others. 

These are administered by 19 ministries, including finance, food production and distribution, financial services, agriculture, commerce, environment, road transport and highways, posts, electronics, and IT.

How will the Bill help in ease of doing business? 

Goyal, while introducing the bill, said that there are many laws in the country under which punishment provisions are there for minor offences and for that people have to approach courts. He said, “The fear of imprisonment for minor offences is a major factor hampering the growth of the business ecosystem and individual confidence.”

In the Bill’s ‘statement and objectives’, Goyal said, “A web of outdated rules and regulations causes trust deficit. It has been the endeavour of the government to achieve the principle of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’, redefining the regulatory landscape of the country under the Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business reforms.”

The government has taken a series of measures to promote ease of doing business, he said that adding about 1,500 old laws have been repealed, 39,000 compliances have been simplified and about 3,500 norms were introduced to decriminalise offences. 

Decriminalisation of minor offences

Besides decriminalisation of minor offences, the Bill also envisages the rationalisation of monetary penalties, depending on the gravity of the offence. As the minister said while introducing the Bill, “We have to trust people. For minor mistakes, people should not be penalised. For minor offences, there should be a provision for paying fines.”

According to the statement of objects and reasons, “Yet another novelty involved in the proposal is an increase of 10 per cent of the minimum amount of fine and penalty levied, after the expiry of every three years, once the bill becomes a law.”

What is status of the Bill as of now?

The Bill has been referred to a 31-member joint Parliamentary committee for scrutiny. The committee includes P P Chaudhary, Sanjay Jaiswal, Rajendra Agrawal, Poonam Pramod Mahajan, Gaurav Gogoi, A Raja, and Sougata Ray, from the Lok Sabha. The names of 10 members of the Rajya Sabha members will be announced later. The committee will submit its report to parliament by the second part of the Budget session in 2023.

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